The most important Magic tournament ever, and a set featuring over three dozen planeswalkers. This is your week in Magic news.
Lambert House Fundraiser
Wizards of the Coast is once again raising money for Lambert House. Lambert House helps to serve and empower LGBTQ youth and this year, as in the past, Wizards of the Coast is making t-shirts and other items available with rainbow pride planeswalker and Dungeons & Dragons logos. You can check out the swag here.
War of the Spark Previews Begin
While the official spoiler season began on Sunday at PAX East, we got a tidbit about the nature of the set’s reveal on Wednesday. Over the next three weeks, every single card from War of the Spark will be officially spoiled. This is because the set tells a story about Nicol Bolas’ invasion of Ravnica and in order to convey the plot, the cards need to be seen in a specific order. Everyday, for the next three weeks, the set’s storyboard will be updated on the main Magic website.
But on Sunday we got our first look at the set, including the trailer for War of the Spark.
The set contains 37 planeswalkers (36 available in booster packs and Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge as a Buy-a-Box promo). There will be uncommon planeswalkers, and every planeswalker will have an associated “signature spell.”
Unlike other sets, all planeswalkers in War of the Spark will have a static ability—that is, an ability that is always “on.” The uncommon planeswalkers will have a static ability and a minus ability (with no way to natively add loyalty). The rare planeswalkers have a static ability, a plus ability, and a minus ability, while the mythic rare planeswalkers will have the traditional three abilities and a static ability.
The set also features the return of proliferate. This allows the uncommon planeswalkers to gain loyalty. There is a new mechanic called amass, which adds +1/+1 counters to any Army creature and if one does not exist, it creates a 0/0 Zombie Army token. You can find out more about the mechanics in the format here.
War of the Spark will have a prerelease the weekend of April 26, including a prerelease Grand Prix at the MagicFest in London. The Draft rounds of the Mythic Championship in London will also feature War of the Spark. The set officially releases May 3rd.
Grand Prix Calgary
Even though it finished after the weekend’s main attraction, there was a Modern Grand Prix at the MagicFest in Calgary. The Top 8 was not dominated by Izzet Phoenix, with only one build making it to the elimination rounds. While it was still the most popular deck on Day 2 at 17.6% of the field, it failed to break through.
Instead, the finals pitted Samuel Pardee on Grixis Death’s Shadow against Atilla Fur on a Jund build of Through the Breach. While Pardee might have been the more experienced player, it was Fur and his unique deck that took home the trophy!
You can find the Top 8 deck lists from the event here.
— ChannelFireball (@ChannelFireball) March 31, 2019
Owen Turtenwald Dismissed from the Mythic Invitational
On Wednesday March 27th, the day before the Mythic Invitational was set to begin, the MagicESports Twitter account released a statement that Magic Pro League member and Hall-of-Famer Owen Turtenwald would not be playing in the Invitational. His spot was taken by Brian David-Marshall. This was the only official statement released. On Friday March 29th, the second day of the Invitational, Kotaku released an article saying that Turtenwald had been credibly accused of harassment and inappropriate behavior toward female players and fans.
There has been no official statement from Wizards of the Coast at the time of writing.
Andrea Mengucci Wins the Mythic Invitational
When the curtains went up on Thursday, there were 30 Magic Pro League members and 34 Challengers ready to square off for their chance at the $250,000 prize. The Mythic Invitational was like no other Magic tournament to date and it showed.
Players were split into four groups, with two losses eliminating a player from group play. Groups A and B played on Thursday, while groups C and D battled on Friday. The Top 16 was whittled down to the Top 4 on Saturday. Left standing in the last four spots were Magic Pro League members Andrea Mengucci and Piotr Głogowski, invitee Janne “Savjz” Mikkone, and Challenger Ondřej Stráský, who qualified by being one of the Top 8 Mythic ranked players on Arena.
Despite the pedigree of all the players, it was the two MPL members, Głogowski and Mengucci, who faced off in the Duo Standard finals. Mengucci continued his trend of the day—not dropping a game—as he took two off of Głogowski and won the tournament, a quarter million dollars, and if this tweet from Gabriel Nassif is accurate, a new computer.
Thank you to all our competitors who made this an unforgettable weekend, and thanks to all of you at home for celebrating it with us! pic.twitter.com/MUu5abB0t0
— Magic Esports (@MagicEsports) March 31, 2019
The Mythic Invitational kicked off a new era of Magic. Over the course of the event the Twitch viewer numbers steadily rose, eclipsing those of games far more popular in streaming communities. Despite some issues with the format—there was an early sudden death ruling where a player who was well ahead in the game but behind on life total was declared to have lost—the event was a resounding success. Magic has arrived as an edsport and the future looks incredibly bright.
After the fanfare at the Mythic Invitational, the professional circuit takes a breather. The next major event is the Modern Grand Prix at MagicFest Sao Paulo the weekend of April 12th, followed by a Legacy Grand Prix at MagicFest Niagara Falls and a Modern Grand Prix at MagicFest Yokohama the week after. Then all eyes are on MagicFest London for the prerelease Grand Prix and the next Mythic Championship.
Until then we will keep our eyes peeled for new War of the Spark spoilers, updates on how we can watch MPL players battle, and news on the case surrounding Owen Turtenwald.